I was going for a walk as I was feeling briefly lost and buried in school work on a beautiful sunny day. I saw an abundance of people from all different backgrounds across the street which heightened my curiosity. I walked towards it and saw people altogether and as I got closer I saw a colorful banner that read “A March for Asian Futures.” I spoke to a couple of people around me and learned that it had just started and that it was AAPI(Asian American Pacific Islanders) organizations around the greater Boston area. I also learned that the speakers are from high school to undergrad and I was in awe at how they spoke with such ferocity and how they organized this beautiful event together. They spoke about the housing policies in Boston, the history of the city, and even bought out different organizations including sex workers, LGBTQAI+, South Asian communities, etc. Right after the speakers were done, they conducted a grounding exercise which I am still reflecting on today. They had us face to face with strangers ( six feet apart, of course) and not talk to each other with our hand on our heart. There was such sweet discomfort to it. Especially since I didn’t know the person in front of me but I began to see them as a person rather than just someone who passes by. Looking into their eyes, I felt their emotions and saw that they were a human being filled with love, sadness, worries, happiness, and everything in between. This exercise made me think that we need to do this more as people rather than just carry on assuming things about each other. With technology these days, it is so easy to get sidetracked and dehumanize each other which has been the root of so many problems these days.
After this exercise, the march started from the South End and we shouted protest chants fiercely walking towards Tufts Medical Center. As we neared there, they hung a banner down for the highway and also gave a walking tower which was led by a high schooler. From there I learned about the history of Tufts Medical Center, our dental school, and my home- The Metropolitan. It opened my eyes as we were going through it and walking towards the Chinatown gate which marked the end of the march. At the gate they had a vivid lion dance performance organized by the Wah Lum Kung Fu Academy. The dance was so colorful and filled with zest. It was performed by kids and adults and brought so much light to the area. After the performance, we had a young Vietnamese speaker talk about the voice we have to use. They spoke about the fear they are facing everyday about their own mother, who works at a nail salon along with their other concerns. They were so pellucid with their emotions and their voice was shaking with passion and sorrow, causing me to tear up thinking of my own friends and family. They also spoke of the Asian community standing together with the Black community rather than separating ourselves and the other actions we can take living in this area. All of this lead to the vigil that was the final part of the day. The vigil was for the victims of the Atlanta shootings (Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels) and Breona Taylor. We were given incense and flowers to properly honor their deaths. There was also traditional drumming in the background for the vigil and we were taught that as the drumming gets louder, we scream to the universe with whatever is on our mind and it remains between you and the universe. Hearing the roars come out of the hearts around me ignited a power within me. I felt the city awakened in that moment of mourning.